20th Century Literature has largely been marked by interesting figures- most of which have been the avant-garde type; those that do not inspire sequels, variations (well, hardly anyways). It is perhaps one of the reasons I have never quite looked so kindly on them. How is their deviation from the conventional novel an attempt to relate to their readers? Is their reality really reality?
As many of you know, the novel, like any story, has a certain structure. A plot, a climax and an ending.
For the Modernists, the Novel seems to elude.
The evolution of the novel thoroughly fascinates me and today’s lecture on Modernism has put a dent in my prejudice against 20th Century novels, namely modern and post-modern novels. No doubt, their flexible structure often irks me (and they probably will continue to) but I believe I have found a soul-mate in a certain Virginia Woolf.
“Is it not the task of the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and uncircumscribed spirit, whatever aberration of complexity it may display, with as little mixture of the alien and external as possible?“ – Virginia Woolf.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
The novel derives from its literary counterpart of the word “novel”, it refers to the experimentally new. I have never quite seen it in that light before, and have often stuck to my own notion of what a novel should be. My prejudices ran counter to the original idea of a novel.
However, I do understand that books are meant to appeal to everyone and anyone. It really depends on who reads it and how they read it and the meaning they receive from it.